After throwing down a quick last lap in the first Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire race of the day, Juncos Racing’s Will Owen started on the pole of the Cooper Tires Winterfest finale. Championship contenders Jack Aitken and Weiron Tan, started from the fourth and second positions, respectively.
As they came around the final corner Weiron Tan, starting from the second spot jumped out to a significant lead and the start was waived off.
The second start was also ragged as Tan, Owen and Aitken came across the line together as the green flag waved. Pole sitter Owen ran wide into Turn 1 and ended up spinning at the apex of Turn 2. The top five at the end of the first lap were: Tan, Aitken, Dalton Kellett, Raoul Owens and Timothe Buret.
On the fifth lap Tan held just over a half a second lead over Aitken, who was a further 1.2 seconds ahead of Dalton Kellett.
On the seventh lap the lead Tan held over Aitken remained steady at just under half a second.
At this point in the race, Tan had earned the two bonus points for leading the most laps, and it appeared that the championship would come down to the quickest race lap.
On lap 10, Will Owen made a mistake exiting Turn 9 and hit the wall on the inside of the track.
Jose Gutierrez and Weiron Tan had traded quickest laps up to that point, but just as the track went to yellow, Aitken turned the quickest lap of the race at 81.397 seconds.
The field went back to green on on Lap 14, and the first three cars got through Turn 1 cleanly, but the fourth and fifth place cars of Buret and Owens made contact, with the No. 6 Team Pelfrey machine of Buret ending up in the gravel trap.
On the same lap, Aitken was able to get beside Tan exiting Turn 5, but that left Tan on the inside for Turn 8 and the No. 22 of Tan was able maintainntain the lead as the track went yellow.
Buret was quickly extricated and the field was able to go back to green. That was short lived, as Daniel Burkett spun in Turn 1 and stalled on the inside of the track.
The field went back to yellow with Tan leading, but with no chance to best Aitken’s quickest lap, he ended up winning the race, but losing the championship by a single point.
The five point penalty that Tan received for skipping the podium in the final race at NOLA Motorsports Park ended up costing him the Cooper Tires Winterfest championship.
Full results, championship standings and more to come.